Ystrad Rhondda win cup to give departing coach Dylan Jones perfect send off

Written by on 5th June 2023

Ystrad Rhondda gave their outgoing head coach Dylan Jones the perfect send off by lifting the Worthington’s Mid District Cup in his final game in charge.

Tries in each half in a man of the match display from former Pontypridd wing Alex Webber on his return to Sardis Road, bookended a first half effort from blindside flanker Rhys Dauncey and one after the break from openside Jarrad Llewellyn, as they beat Brecon in the district showpiece.

It was a fitting finale for former fly-half Jones, as he brings the curtain down on 21 years at Ystrad Rhondda – and the past 13 of those also spent coaching at the Gelligaled Park club.

During that time he has overseen two successful title winning campaigns, culminating in promotion to the Championship in 2018 – and where they have now firmly established themselves.

He also helped lead Ystrad to WRU National Plate glory at the Millennium (now Principality) Stadium in 2015 – and took them back there this season where they gave Pontypool a good run for their money in the Championship Cup Final.

It was also fitting that his final chapter would end back at Sardis Road, where his earliest sporting memories revolved around as that’s where his father Chris and uncle Clive coached in the late 1980s.

He would also go on to enjoy a couple of seasons as a player at Pontypridd under the coaching of Dale McIntosh – now in charge at Brecon – and who Jones says influenced his own ideas on culture when he returned to Ystrad.

Meanwhile this was the third time Ystrad Rhondda have won the Mid District Cup and the first time since 2001. Since then they have been runners-up on four separate occasions, including against Bargoed last season.

They avenged that loss back on May 6th in what was a league and cup semi-final double header between the sides at Gelligaled Park, which Ystrad edged 21-17.

It set up a final showdown with Brecon, who themselves have had a season to remember, finishing as runners-up in One East to win promotion – and means they will be playing in the new Championship West division next season.

The district clash against higher division opponents proved to be a bridge too far on this occasion, but that won’t detract from what has been a brilliant first season at the helm for McIntosh, along with two other former Pontypridd men in Gavin Dacey and Owen Sheppeard.

Brecon were first on the scoreboard through full-back and skipper Jake Crockett’s penalty but Ystrad went straight up the other end with Webber diving over unconverted.

Ystrad No.10 Rhys Truelove though did add the extras to Dauncey’s try which came inside the 15-minute mark and also sent over a penalty, before wing Ben Griffin pulled a score back for Brecon which went unconverted as Ystrad led 15-8 as the sides changed ends.

Two more tries before the hour mark had been struck all but took the game away from Brecon with first Llewellyn going over and then Webber adding his second.

Truelove converted the latter and added his second penalty before flanker Ioan Edwards grabbed a second unconverted try for Brecon late on.

“I couldn’t have asked for more to be honest on the back of the season we’ve had,” said delighted Dylan Jones.

“I just asked for one more big effort and, in fairness, they took their chances, took their opportunities and have done the job.

“We scored at key times; the two tries at the start showed what we can do when we’ve got the ball in our hands and then the try just after half time really put us in the ascendancy.

“This has capped off a great season for us; we’ve come close against Pontypool in that Championship Cup final and achieved our objective of fourth in the league.

“Also for some of us we’ve been in this Mid District competition now for a number of years and have been the bridesmaids a few times.

“We’ve been four times runners-up in the time that I’ve been here for the last 21 years and finally capped it off with a win, so chuffed!”

Brecon 13-30 Ystrad Rhondda

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